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View Full Version : Building a new Cap Rock fall in sunny South Fla!


Chrysalis
02-01-2009, 12:58 AM
Hey all!

Building a decent size cap rock waterfall down here in Ft Lauderdale where the weather is still warm! Wanted to show you all and see what you think. on the third and last day tomorrow with cement, gravel, plants, mulch.

Ill post those tomorrow! :)

Marc

Chrysalis
02-01-2009, 01:01 AM
And then later that day...

DLAWNS
02-01-2009, 10:11 AM
Looks great..I can't wait to see the final pictures.

XStream Aquatics
02-02-2009, 09:41 PM
Is this your first water feature????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Chrysalis
02-02-2009, 10:06 PM
No why do you ask?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Venturewest
02-03-2009, 08:45 PM
Are you ready to fire that thing up? I am anxious to see it run.

XStream Aquatics
02-03-2009, 11:00 PM
Do you really want me to answer? I would be happy to give you some ideas...to help.

Chrysalis
02-03-2009, 11:20 PM
Yes of course. Im always open to help and suggestions. Thats why im here.

:usflag:*trucewhiteflag*

Landscaped it today and had to get another pump shipped in so it will be running by tomorrow!

XStream Aquatics
02-03-2009, 11:57 PM
Fisrt thing I notice is the lack of support on your pond wall under the falls. The weight of the rock along with deterioration of the soil is going to make the feature collapse. Most of the rock joints aren't staggered. I don't see a check valve nor do I notice any unions or quick disconnect to get the pumps out. The rock pile looks like a volcano, I think the scale is to big. Is there an overflow?? What size pumps are you using? The face of the waterfall rocks are all pretty much horizontal and then you laid all the edge rock hidding the liner diagonal, it really stands out. Not noticing any underlayment. I can almost bet if youy've fired it up yet that you had leaks in at least two spots that I can see. Just some thoughts.

Tyler7692
02-04-2009, 04:18 AM
Are you guys doing the hardscape work there? I have to agree with Xstream, looks totally unnatural (no offense).

tadpole
02-04-2009, 09:40 AM
Sorry, but I completely agree with Xstream. Also the reservoir does not appear to have the capacity to support much of a Flow Rate.

Lite4
02-04-2009, 12:39 PM
All those rock stacks have big vertical joints running up the boulders. This could make your stack very unstable and most of your water will want to travel down these joints and not the face of your rock. You need to stack the rocks much the same way you would when building walls. 1 over 2, 2 over 1 and so forth, this will not only make the feature more stable but will also create more play for the falling water and eliminate the big gaps that will suck up all the water. As for the style of your feature. Well, if it is your first one it's not too bad. I agree the reservoir is far too shallow and not wide enough to catch all the splash that will be bouncing off those rocks so you may have some issue with water loss and replenishment. For tight spots like that I would use a combination of large layered rock on the bottom portion with different lengths of stone reaching out over the basin and then I would place large, unique core drilled boulders at the top for the water to pour out of. These work great in limited spaces. keep trying new and different things with the stone. Building water features is an art and it does take a while to fine tune them and learn all the little nuances of making them look natural. You should have seen my first ones, YIKES!!!

Chrysalis
02-04-2009, 02:52 PM
Hey Tim. Thank you for that. I knew I should have taken more time to place the boulders in a staggered fashion. Times have been tough and I needed the job so I kinda underbid this fall and winged it. Total contract was $5012.34 and didnt get enough for labor so I didn't have much time to think about a lot of those things, not to mention, yes, i haven't been in the water feature business long. But this is the way my previous company did a couple of them ..

The fall has a Cal Pump Mag Drive PWM 5200 GPH pushing through 1 1/2 inch flex pipe going to 5 1 1/2 inch outlets and after we worked on pointing and hiding them it actually looks really good when running, the water runs down the fall pretty good even though there are a lot of vertical lines, and after a hour there was no splash whatsoever outside of the reservoir. Also the pond is a bit too shallow, but we hit some old concrete slabs while digging and I just decided to stop there (deepest point is 32 inches.) with the contract price being what it was.

It is still a work in process tho I will post final pictures on friday! it looks alot better landscaped.. The homeowner came out today and was ecstatic! (her or the general contractor do not have such an educated eye like all of you LHCSiter's.) She even gave me a hug, and told me I have the whole front and back landscape and lighting job which is pretty big, and that we are her new gardener's. Her home is beginning to look like a palace with all the money she is spending on it!

Marc

Venturewest
02-04-2009, 05:40 PM
Marc, that is great that you can take that kind of criticism and not let your ego get in the way. That limited space would be a hard place to build a feature to start with. It is great that the customer loves it. If it has no leaks and lasts then you are doing good.

The feature has its problems visually of course but the aesthetics of your features will improve as you do more. Still want to see a pic when you get it finished up.

Chrysalis
02-04-2009, 06:01 PM
Yes I am sure nobody means any harm. Everyone is so helpful around here! I am always the first one to jump at the opportunity of having someone who knows better than me to tell me the wrong things I did before the right. It is one of the best ways to learn! Allthough if someone came at me with "Are you a stupid idiot there is vertical lines on boulders stacked one on top of the other!!!" it would be a different story.

Venture, also thank you also for all the help you give and everything you add to lawnsite you are such a valuable contributor!

Marc

Lite4
02-04-2009, 07:10 PM
Hey Tim. Thank you for that. I knew I should have taken more time to place the boulders in a staggered fashion. Times have been tough and I needed the job so I kinda underbid this fall and winged it. Total contract was $5012.34 and didnt get enough for labor so I didn't have much time to think about a lot of those things, not to mention, yes, i haven't been in the water feature business long. But this is the way my previous company did a couple of them ..

The fall has a Cal Pump Mag Drive PWM 5200 GPH pushing through 1 1/2 inch flex pipe going to 5 1 1/2 inch outlets and after we worked on pointing and hiding them it actually looks really good when running, the water runs down the fall pretty good even though there are a lot of vertical lines, and after a hour there was no splash whatsoever outside of the reservoir. Also the pond is a bit too shallow, but we hit some old concrete slabs while digging and I just decided to stop there (deepest point is 32 inches.) with the contract price being what it was.

It is still a work in process tho I will post final pictures on friday! it looks alot better landscaped.. The homeowner came out today and was ecstatic! (her or the general contractor do not have such an educated eye like all of you LHCSiter's.) She even gave me a hug, and told me I have the whole front and back landscape and lighting job which is pretty big, and that we are her new gardener's. Her home is beginning to look like a palace with all the money she is spending on it!

Marc


No problem Marc, I completely understand where you are on this project. Been there many times myself. I am glad the customer is very pleased with the work and that you will be getting more work now. Use this waterfall as a learning experience for the next ones you do. The things that you liked about it and that worked well, retain and hone those skills. The things that you didn't like just discard and figuire out a better way. I will have to say though that where that waterfall is placed, it would be difficult to construct with a lot of variety. A pebble waterwall going all the way up the wall would have looked pretty cool too in that very limited space. Maybe keep that in the back of your mind as an option if you run across something similar down the road.
I will have to agree with Ron on this one too, you are a very smart guy being able to take constructive criticism the way you do. Keep that attitude, watch, observe and study the craft all you can and you will no doubt go far.

Venturewest
02-05-2009, 09:26 AM
Thanks Marc, I appreciate the comment.

Hey Tim, In your vast stash of incredible water feature photos, do you have any vertical or wall style fountains? There definitely is a place for these kind of features, (especially pools around here). I would love to see some photos.

Lite4
02-06-2009, 10:04 AM
Thanks Marc, I appreciate the comment.

Hey Tim, In your vast stash of incredible water feature photos, do you have any vertical or wall style fountains? There definitely is a place for these kind of features, (especially pools around here). I would love to see some photos.

I don't have any on my computer but I will see what I can dig up amongst some old photographs to scan in and post.

cudaclan
02-06-2009, 08:00 PM
The owners appear to have constructed a “Romanesque” themed courtyard/home. Columns, reflection pool, tiled table, marble (?) statue… Why such a drastic departure?

Chrysalis
02-06-2009, 08:05 PM
:usflag: Here are some final pictures. What does everyone think?? :)

Marc

Chrysalis
02-06-2009, 08:20 PM
more pictures :clapping:

Marc

Chrysalis
02-06-2009, 08:25 PM
The owners appear to have constructed a “Romanesque” themed courtyard/home. Columns, reflection pool, tiled table, marble (?) statue… Why such a drastic departure?

They wanted a natural stone waterfall that Iguana's could climb up and rest on top of in the warm Florida sun. There was 1 on top of it yesterday.

Tomorrow I am adding the "Iguana Crossing" signs. :)

DLAWNS
02-06-2009, 11:23 PM
I am the furthest thing from a pond expert, but I think it looks pretty good. I read the rest of the thread and realize there are improvements that could be made, but all in all it looks good to me.

Lite4
02-07-2009, 09:40 AM
It is too bad that they didn't continue the roman theme there as well. A nice wall/stepped fountain would have tied in well and the lizards could lay on some nice 12" wide steps. But, you give the homeowner what they want. I wish I could plant those tropical plants out here.

Venturewest
02-07-2009, 02:36 PM
Looks good! I really like your plantings and gravel beach edges on the pond. It's amazing what some water will do also.

letsplay
02-07-2009, 03:02 PM
The waterfeature looks great with the landscaping. I dont think they should call those lizards down there iguanas, they should be called cat eaters! They are huge. Between the alligators, constricting snakes that are getting out of control and iguanas (and the crazy people trapping them) I don't know how you safely walk around in any time of wilderness there! Yea, send that picture of the iguana on the water feature.....not something we see in North Carolina.

We had one client when I was working with a company that built a beautiful formal two tier water feature with a waterfall and came home one day and placed large mouth bass in it instead of Koi or goldfish. Thought that was different too until about a month later a racoon got hold of it.

letsplay
02-07-2009, 03:11 PM
Has anyone built small water features or pondless waterfalls into or with retaining walls (keystone type walls)? I have a client that wants to incorporate some sort of water feature between the two tiered retaining wall we are proposing. The first wall is just an 18" seating wall then four feet behind that will be another 24" retaining wall but I really don't have any room behind the 24inch wall since it is only about three feet from a parking lot. The space between the two walls will be back filled and landscaped. We will build stairs at one end that are five steps and another step down section of about ten foot of wall on the other side.

The other twist is the owner would like to try and incorporate large boulders to break up some of the retaining wall stone. I think the only thing I can do is build a pondless waterfall diagnolly (sp) between the walls. The walls are 55 feet long and have a curve that will step back down into the hill (Like have of an "S" in shape).

If you guys have any recommendations for which pondless waterfall products to work with or steer clear of I am all ears.

Thanks in advance.

Venturewest
02-07-2009, 10:18 PM
Hey Letsplay, Tim (Firefly) has some sweet photos posted on here of a pondless falls that breaks up a SRW wall like you are talking about. I really like the look of the wall being interrupted with either boulders or even better a waterfall.

It is funny, I am getting ready to build an S-shaped 2 wall terrace also with Pavestone Diamond pro stonecut block. Mine this about 32" on the upper wall and 40" on the lower wall with about a 8' setback that will be a planting bed.
Both walls are going to taper or "step up" back into the slopes. This is my first SRW wall so I am pretty excited. Do you do many walls? I may end up picking your brain.

For components, a lot of guys don't use a weir. Some core drill a nice boulder. I usually dig a small basin at the top of the falls and run my pipe into the bottom of it. I use differant things to diffuse the water and then cover it with river rock and make it part of the feature. Not using a weir is cheaper and you have less to hide.

letsplay
02-07-2009, 10:42 PM
Venture West,

Thanks for the feedback. I will have to check out more of Fireflys posts.
This is also my first retaining wall with keystone block. I have built retaining walls out of boulders and wood before. I have some concerns and am taking my time to research the wall to make sure it is designed well. I am not quit sure which wall to start with, top one or bottom one. I have always been told to start with the lowest point on a block wall. Hey, feel free to ask questions maybe we can both learn something new. I enjoy hardscaping but have not gotten a chance to do much the last couple of years.
There is some good posts on retaining walls in other forums you should check out if you haven't. I have also been surprised at how expensive these walls can be but if I can keep the labor down there should be some good profit. I expect it to be slow the first time with the block but we prep our bases the same with other products.